Monday, November 30, 2009

Say Thankyou to a Soldier Thanks to Xerox

XEROX IS DOING SOMETHING NICE!



If you go to this web site, www.LetsSayThanks.com you can pick out a thank you card and

Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq . You can't pick

out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services.

How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one!!!

It is FREE and it only takes a second.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the soldiers received a bunch of these?

Whether you are for or against the war, our soldiers over there need to know we are behind them.

This takes just 10 seconds and it's a wonderful way to say thank you.

Please take the time and please take the time to pass it on for others to do.

We can never say enough thank you's.

Thanks for taking to time to support our military!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Where are you?



Think about the part in the Genesis story where God calls out to Adam. Genesis 3:10-11 Just think about that for a minute.

Wow. God came looking for him. And God comes looking for us. Always. He never gives up on us. My cloistered brothers are very thankful that God doesn't give up on us because they were hard to find. You can run, but you can't hide from God.

The poet Francis Thompson describes it in his poem,

The Hound of Heaven

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.

Mmmmmm.............

My experience has been different. God's pursuit of me wasn't so relentless. He was always there and every once in awhile (when I needed it) He'd bug me. God is more like a cat, than a dog.

Apology to Francis Thompson

I sought Him, up all night and up all day.
I sought Him, all my sinful life.
I sought Him, through the academic maze,
professional cubicles, and children's strife.

I looked for Him, I reached out, I touched,
across the land, I held tight,
the gentle breeze of His approach
would calm my racing heart at night.

No hound of heaven; rather playful kitten,
scratching at the door--not to be ignored,
circling feet, rubbing, caressing, tail high.
Alack! You have always been my Adored.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday


It's a tradition. My two daughters and I go Christmas Shopping, the day after Thanksgiving. We get most of it done, too.

This morning found us up at 4:00 AM. We threw our clothes on and ran out of our respective homes, and raced to our meeting place. It's a contest to see who's first. It's a disgrace to be last because that would mean you were a slacker, and couldn't get up. I thought I was last because I underestimated how long it would take me to get to the mall. Plus, I wasted a lot of time waiting for the light to change at Lafayette House. After waiting for a maddening long time for a traffic light, it occurred to me that I was stupid. What was I waiting for? It's 4:30 AM. I did not see another car on the road since I left home. What was I waiting for? So I went through the traffic light. Whew! No sirens followed me. (I was edified to see that on my home the traffic light was completely, off. So it wasn't such a breach of the law.)

I was the first one there at 4:34 AM. Where were those slackers? They came immediately, after. I love shopping early morning. And I hate shopping. But there's something about the excitement, about the camaraderie with the other shoppers, about the great deals!!!

The mall was not mobbed. The stores that were open had lots of shoppers but the waiting in line wasn't bad. Like I said, the camaraderie made it fun. While waiting to check out, people got to know one another, helped others find the best deals, offered suggestions, and joked. Walking inside the mall was eerie in a fun way. It was too early for most of the stores to be open, so the inside was kind of dark. Everyone you passed said good morning and was smiling. People made fun (good natured teasing,) of the sleepy cop yawning at his post.

The girls hand picked what they wanted for Christmas from me. They also helped me buy for their husbands. I helped them buy for their father and brother (and me). We just about finished ALL our Christmas shopping. We definitely made a big dent in the Christmas list.

Lastly, the three of us go out for breakfast. We order big hearty breakfasts and lots of tea and coffee. After all, we worked up three appetites. My pedometer told me that I walked 4677 steps.

Those who think we're crazy just don't know what they're missing.

The slackers!

Now I just have to bake cookies and make fudge.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Interesting New Blog

Have you ever heard of "postmodernism?" I just read about it on a brand new blog. The blog is operated by a Lay Dominican exploring all the aspects and effects upon society by postmodernism. Bob, the blogger, is interested in the theological view.

Take a look and see how he defines: relativism, secularization and of course modernism and postmodernism. This blog will be interesting.

Postmodernism is not a once-and-for-all philosophical construct. It does not begin at the end of modernism but runs concurrently from its first proposals to the present time. How postmodernism affects one area of human endeavor in one decade may not affect another until later decades. However, I believe that postmodernism has a natural evolution within the spectrum of human endeavor. ... Postmodernism, as a whole, ran concurrent to modernism which reached politics in the 1910s to the 1940s where both Communism and National Socialism rose to power.

I'll try to keep my comments on the blog relative to his definitions and their explanations. Independent thinkers welcome.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turducken

It's Thanksgiving. Did you ever hear of a Turducken? It's a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey.

There are many stories regarding its origen, but it does seem to originate from the south. It's made by deboning the three kinds of fowl. Lay them out flat. You stuff the turkey with pork stuffing. Then you place the duck over the stuffing. The duck is open so that you can stuff more pork stuffing on the center of the duck. Finally, you take the chicken, spread it out over the suffing of the duck. Stuff the chicken with cornmeal stuffing. Then wrap the whole thing up and sew it secure. Bake.

When it's done you cut it right down the middle to open it up and see the many different layers. It seems that this is not so unusual--to stuff a bird inside a bird. Medieval cookbooks have recipes of birds stuffed with birds and other animals.

Hungry yet?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Manhattan Declaration


Wow! The pen is pretty mighty. The internet makes it even more so. The Manhattan Declaration is an ecumenical Christian document initiated by Charles Colson. Please read it. I think it says everything necessary for today's issues. And then please sign it.

Thanks and God bless.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Interfaith Council Thanksgiving Service


My neighbor and I went to the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, held at the Federated Church. It was very nice, just like it always is.
It's always nice to sing with others and listen to the ministers and rabbi from the other religions. The best part is meeting people you've seen around town and now you can chat and get to know them.
The churches involved are the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Temple Etz Chaim, Methodist, Episcopal, First Universalist Society, and St. Mary's Catholic Church. That's the Interfaith Council.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lay Preaching


I was reading Catholic dot Org about St. Cecilia. This story is obviously just that--a story. A legend that was built upon some fact. I love the story because Cecilia, a Lay Person, converted 400 people. Given that this is legend, there probably wasn't 400, but it has to be some people, right? I love this stuff.

The story of S. Cecilia is not without beauty and merit. There was in the city of Rome a virgin named Cecilia, who was given in marriage to a youth named Valerian. She wore sackcloth next to her skin, and fasted, and invoked the saints and angels and virgins, beseeching them to guard her virginity. And she said to her husband, "I will tell you a secret if you will swear not to reveal it to anyone." And when he swore, she added, "There is an angel who watches me, and wards off from me any who would touch me." He said, "Dearest, if this be true, show me the angel." "That can only be if you will believe in one God, and be baptized."

She sent him to Pope S. Urban (223-230), who baptized him; and when he returned, he saw Cecilia praying in her chamber, and an angel by her with flaming wings, holding two crowns of roses and lilies, which he placed on their heads, and then vanished. Shortly after, Tibertius, the brother of Valerian, entered, and wondered at the fragrance and beauty of the flowers at that season of the year.

When he heard the story of how they had obtained these crowns, he also consented to be baptized. After their baptism the two brothers devoted themselves to burying the martyrs slain daily by the prefect of the city, Turcius Almachius. [There was no prefect of that name.] They were arrested and brought before the prefect, and when they refused to sacrifice to the gods were executed with the sword.

In the meantime, S. Cecilia, by preaching had converted four hundred persons, whom Pope Urban forthwith baptized. Then Cecilia was arrested, and condemned to be suffocated in the baths. She was shut in for a night and a day, and the fires were heaped up, and made to glow and roar their utmost, but Cecilia did not even break out into perspiration through the heat. When Almachius heard this he sent an executioner to cut off her head in the bath. The man struck thrice without being able to sever the head from the trunk. He left her bleeding, and she lived three days. Crowds came to her, and collected her blood with napkins and sponges, whilst she preached to them or prayed. At the end of that period she died, and was buried by Pope Urban and his deacons.

Alexander Severus, who was emperor when Urban was Pope, did not persecute the Church, though it is possible some Christians may have suffered in his reign. Herodian says that no person was condemned during the reign of Alexander, except according to the usual course of the law and by judges of the strictest integrity. A few Christians may have suffered, but there can have been no furious persecutions, such as is described in the Acts as waged by the apocryphal prefect, Turcius Almachius.

Urbanus was the prefect of the city, and Ulpian, who had much influence at the beginning of Alexander's reign as principal secretary of the emperor and commander of the Pretorian Guards, is thought to have encouraged persecution. Usuardus makes Cecilia suffer under Commodus. Molanus transfers the martyrdom to the reign of Marcus Aurelius. But it is idle to expect to extract history from romance.

In 1599 Cardinal Paul Emilius Sfondrati, nephew of Pope Gregory XIV, rebuilt the church of S. Cecilia.

St. Cecilia is regarded as the patroness of music [because of the story that she heard heavenly music in her heart when she was married], and is represented in art with an organ or organ-pipes in her hand.

From The Lives of the Saints by the Rev. S. Baring-Gould, M.A., published in 1914 in Edinburgh.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Self Hypnosis

My weightloss group, T.O.P.S. went to a Self Hypnosis Workshop today. We thought this would be a good idea to do before we hit the holidays. I don't know what to think about it. Part of me thinks that it's just a gimmick. A trick to talk yourself into doing something you should be doing, anyway. But I'm going to try it.

About once a week, you set aside time when you can be alone, free of distractions. You make yourself comfortable and relax. Close your eyes and relax each part of your body from your head to your toes. Relax.

Relax. Now in your mind, count down from 10 to 1. Relax deeper with each count. This is called Happy Space, according to Ann, our instructor.

Enjoy this space, this time. You are very relaxed. Count down, again, going deeper and relaxing even more.

This is where you tell yourself:

I am healthy and happy. I enjoy eating healthy foods. I eat the foods that are right for me. I make healthy choices. I am loosing weight and I am healthy, happy and satisfied. I am achieving my ideal weight.

When you feel you've expressed all you want to say (in your mind), count your self back up to 10.

Just enjoy the peaceful moment. When ready, count yourself out another ten. Open your eyes. You should feel great. You should be good when eating.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cursillo Method


I was looking up how to do a "witness talk." Some might call this "confessional preaching." In surfing the net I came across the Cursillo method. Being a Cursillista, myself, I was surprised at everything that went into it.

It seems that you need four people. One is the speaker giving witness. Another is a friend praying in the chapel, or wherever. Another is called the responder. Finally, you need a priest or someone knowledgeable to add scriptural and doctrinal backup.

I was surprised at the "responder's" role. The responder asks a question, or affirms, or whatever is needed, after the witness Talk. He helps the speaker by sitting in the audience and gauging the reaction. The responder might affirm what was witnessed by affirming what was said, or expand himself by adding something, or even ask a question that he thought might need further explanation.

When you think about it, every speaker should have a "responder".

Oh, and of course, some other friend praying in the chapel.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Friends



MISSING CHRIS

Happy is he who finds a friend and he who speaks to attentive ears.
Sirach 25:9

My soul mate, Chris would help with my mess,
over spinach artichoke dip, nachos,
ice tea, girl-talk, dope slaps, and laughter;
deftly would your perspective fix my problem;
snap smooth wrinkled excuses and cobwebbed thoughts,
as we share late night secrets and pray for grace.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Death Penalty

Tomorrow, Nov. 17th, the Massachusetts Senate will try to re-institute the death penalty in Massachusetts. This is part of a mandatory minimum sentencing bill.

Pinch me, will you. Isn't this the 21st century...in a civilized country? Aren't we better than that?

Think of the costs. Facing death, the prisoner would appeal and appeal and appeal--costing the state more than it would to send the same prisoner to life imprisonment. Think of the mistakes that have been made. People proved innocent. Google the Alaskan Project.

Think, violence to be an impediment to violence.
Think, kill to stop killing.
Isn't this a contradiction?

I'm not advocating letting murders go free. Restitution, if possible should be demanded. Hardened criminals should not be free. Prudent prevention and society's safety preclude this. We have a sure right to be safe to live without fear. Nor does it require us to arrive at the hopefully optimistic belief that we can rehabilitate all perpetrators of violence. But killing people won't stop murder. It just makes us murders, also.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dallas at the Vet's


It's that time of year, again. Time for Dallas to get her booster shots.

Dallas is the family my son's cat. When Mark was in college, his girl friend gave him a kitten. Mark thought it was the greatest gift, ever.
:-/

He named the kitten "Dallas" because her heart was as big as Texas!

HA!

The kitten was brought up by bachelors. Since Mark was at school, no pets were allowed. So they kept the poor thing in the bedroom, all the time. When he got an apartment, some of his roommates didn't like cats, so again, Dallas was relegated to Mark's bedroom, most of the time.

Now that Mark has moved back home, he brought his cat with him. I think the cat is bi-polar. I've never heard her purr. She meows likes she's talking. She meows to go into a room (she hates closed doors). And she's so damn loud! She growls if you enter a room that she's in. Often she's under a bed or somewhere else out of sight. So that when you enter the room, you hear this unearthly growl and you have no idea what it is. Eventually, you'll figure that it must be Dallas, so you back out of the room so as not to disturb the beast.

Anyway, hubby gladly took her to the vets to get her just desserts, annual booster shots. She growled all the way there, and all the way home.

The vet opened the door to her carrier and she growled and hissed. The vet said, "Take her out."

Hubby said, "No way, I don't have a death wish."

So the vet opened the top of the carrier. She stayed in there while he examined her. To tell you how much she didn't like it is beyond my literary expression. But when he gave her her booster shot everyone heard an auditory horror. Her eyes looked at the vet like she was trying to decide which carotid artery to attack. Hard, small, cold, evil, all come to mind.

The ordeal is over. We haven't seen (or heard) Dallas since she came home.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Father Tom's Kids



The "Fr. Tom's Kids" Program pairs sponsors with orphans and needy students. Sponsored kids are provided a year of school fees, boarding, school supplies, basic medical care, uniforms, and books. Most of Fr. Tom's Kids are orphans whose families are victims of HIV/AIDS. Also prevalent is Burkitt Lymphoma, which is native to Africa. Those who have living parents prove to be too much of a burden to their families and are brought to the school. The school is Our Lady of Grace in Kisumu, Kenya. The mission is run by the Dominican Friars.

Besides the basic care, education is most important. Education is the ticket for a good job and to become a useful citizen. Education is the foundation for creating a more just society. Educated people are empowered to work for peace and justice against the current corruption in their part of the world. Ecuation trains informed leaders and enables those to raise their families out of the poverty cycle.

How about helping out. To sponsor a child, we're asking $ 75 a month. But just a tax-deductible donation to the Fr. Tom's Kids Program is wellcome. To contact the Dominican Friars in Kisumu, Kenya, please contact their Missions Director in the US:

Dominican Friars Kisumu
c/o DOMINICAN MISSION SECRETARIATE
141 East 65th St.
New York, NY 10065-6607

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Director of Lay Preaching


Yours truly has been asked to be Director of Lay Preaching. Wowza!

It's not an honor, yet. My friend, Bob, has set up a site for Lay Dominicans and has asked me to Direct that part of it. The site is under construction.

What shall it include? What do you think?

I think it'll be about "How" not "What"? I think it's boring when preachers put up their homilies. There's even sites where people give a Talk. This site will be different. People will give suggestions, tell what works, and what doesn't.

This is going to be fun.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mindfulness at the Dentist


What a joke? I still say the teachers of mindfulness and those that think that stress is cause by the future are wrong. The premise is wrong. It's more stressful to be hit with the unexpected present: accidents, unexpected happenings, and just plain "life", than the future.

Who worries about the future? Or rather, why would anyone worry about stuff that may never happen? Like I said in my previous posting, turn it over to God. He's the only One Who can use the bad to make good.

This was all brought to mind, today, as I sat in the dentist chair. I wasn't that worried, or anxious. The dentist was fitting me for my bridge. No pain involved.

Then he took a hammer. That's right a HAMMER! That tool that you hit a nail with. He took a hammer and started smacking my teeth with it. Now tell me honestly, would that cause stress, or would you be thinking about tomorrow's stress? The dentist was trying to loosen my temporary bridge. See if you can practice mindfulness with a man smacking a hammer on your teeth.

Good Lord. Thank God I'm Catholic and believe in redemptive suffering.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Stress Two

Part Two of my Stress Class was today. I understand what they're trying to teach me, but it doesn't apply to my situation. Today we worked on being present to the moment. (They must have read Flannery O'Connor's The Habit of Being.) The idea is that thinking about the future is causing the stress. What lies ahead is worrisome and causing anxiety. So if one focuses on the present, the stress is lessened.

Wrong.

The present is causing the stress. The future is retirement, or vacation, or the next day--a new day away from the stressful present. Think of a woman in labor. What could be more stressful than that PRESENT. Ugh. What keeps her going is the future. She's probably thinking of 24 hours from now this will all be done and I'll be holding my baby, far away from this STRESSFUL PRESENT.

We also talked about attitude. We should be grateful. We should notice in our "present" all that we have to be grateful for: flowers, weather, etc. I can't find fault with this attitude. But I'll add my philosophy: Always expect the worst. That way you're always prepared. Percentage-wise, I know the worst is unlikely to happen, but if I'm prepared to handle the worst, then I can handle anything. So actually, I'm an optimist because the worst, which I expected, didn't happen, thus I'm happy. I'm an optimist because I'm a pessimist.

Besides, if one is religious, all they have to do is hand over all their concerns to God. Let Him handle it. Religious people know that everything is according to God's plan. He's in charge. Whatever happens, the good, the bad,... is all part of the grand scheme of things. We only see our little part of it.

That's what I'm grateful for: believing in God, being a pessimist, being able to blog, for my kids, for my husband, for my health, ...oops, we're only suppose to list four things a day.

....to be continued

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How to Write a Psalm


Last weekend, I learned how to write a psalm. It is actually helping me to pray better because I am really focused. Let me show you how to write a psalm.

Psalms are like our usual prayers. They are either praising, asking, or thanking. Psalms, however are written in parallel verses connected together by concept. The writing style in Psalms follow a distinct format called parallelism.

One concept is synonymous parallelism. One thought is stated and the next line states the same thought with different words, i.e.: Psalm 1:5

Therefore the wicked will not survive judgment.
Nor will sinners in the assembly of the just.


Another: Psalm 2:3
Let us break their shackles
and cast off their chains!


Another style of verse is antithetic parallelism. One thought is stated and the next line is the opposite, i.e.: Psalm 1:6

The Lord watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.


Another: Psalm 20:8
Some rely on chariots, others on horses,
but we on the name of the Lord our God.


One more type of psalm is synthetic parallelism. One thought is stated and the other verses develop that thought, i.e.: Psalm 1

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
Or stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of mockers
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night


There you go. What do you think?

Try writing using one or more of these methods. What did you notice?

I bet your praying has never been better. Aren't you really focused on praising, thanking, asking, or interceding? Writing psalms were be the perfect activity for Adoration.

I owe my Beloved all,
Yet I forget and sin.


Beloved, I believe
I want to believe more.


Mmmmmmmm. Remember it's the intention that counts. Trying to pray is prayer.

*  Related Post  http://theonetruefaith-faith.blogspot.com/2011/01/new-psalm.html

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Abortion and Health Care

Thanks to Speaker Pelosi, who held the door open for Rep. Stupak to offer an amendment on the floor to restrict federal funding for abortion services, even in private health insurance plans. The vote was 240-194.

Stupak . "It applies the Hyde amendment — which bars federal funding for abortion except in the case of rape, incest or the life of the mother — to the health care bill."

The amendment is saying that government money can't be used for abortion. The government-administered health plan — often called the public option — will not cover abortion, unless a doctor certifies that a woman is in danger of death without one, or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

If you get your health insurance through the government, or with help from the government in the form of a tax subsidy, your plan will not cover abortion. In this case, you would have the right to buy extra coverage — with your own money.

If you get your health insurance through your state, as in Medicaid, your state could buy supplemental abortion coverage for everyone it insures. And 17 states already do this under Medicaid.

The Exchange: The next section of the abortion amendment deals with the exchange. That's the government-administered service where people can buy insurance and join a risk pool. One of the reasons health care is so expensive for people who don't get it through their work is that they're not in a large risk pool. The bill tries to group them together and cut costs for everyone.

Private insurance companies that offer a health plan through the exchange are allowed to cover abortion. But if they're going to, the companies must also offer another plan that is identical in every way, except that it does not cover abortion.

So, say you're buying insurance with your own money, and you get it through the exchange. You can choose a policy that covers abortion, or one that doesn't. But if you're getting help from the government to buy that insurance — in the form of a tax subsidy — you may not choose a plan that covers abortion. You are still allowed to buy a supplemental policy with your own money.

Private Insurance: The Stupak amendment does not apply to private insurance bought with private money. It is also not close to becoming law. The Senate bill does not have similar language, though lawmakers on both sides of the debate are now looking at it.

The bill is being crafted by democracy. That's how the people exercise their voice.

I'm proud of the Democrats for Life and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lithuanian Franciscans


This weekend I was in Kennebunk, ME for a meeting. It was held at the Franciscan Guest House on the grounds of St. Anthony's Monastery. The place was beautiful. The weather was beautiful. I was blessed in so many ways, even though a proposal I put forth was shot down. But I refuse to be down about it. The good outweighs the bad.

I renewed many friendships. I made new friends. And my socks were knocked off by a coincidence. I knew nothing about this place. It is run by Franciscans from Lithuania. Guess what. I'm half Lithuanian.

Who knew?

I was so blessed by seeing facial similarities, bone structures, a language (which I don't speak) I haven't seen in years. I just felt the presence of my mother and grandparents and other relatives all around me. And this the Feast of All Souls. Wow! Lord, thank you for all my Lithuanian relatives. Have mercy on them and give them my love.

The blessings continued. It was 60 degrees. In Maine! In November! So I went for a walk around the place. I saw a Lithuanian Wayside Cross, which looks nothing like a cross. That's the picture, above.

I saw this sculpture that I saw at the World's Fair when I was a senior in high school. It was designed by Vytautas Kazimieras Joynas. It represented the Church Militant (us), the Church Suffering (purgatory), and the Church Triumphant (heaven).

There were many other shrines, sculptures, monuments and a scenic view of the Kennebunk River. The blessings continue.

Naturally, there's a gift shop. In the Icon area I was specifically looking for the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. We're talking about Icons in my Arise Together in Christ group. We're just interested in them; it has nothing to do with our faith sharing program. But I was telling the group about the sandal falling of Jesus' foot, in that icon. I've been looking for that picture to show the group. And I did find a holy card of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, but the sandal falling isn't distinct. I was telling my friends about it and we looked all over the gift shop and didn't find anything better.

We went to brunch. While eating, a lady came over to me and said, "I overheard your conversation in the gift shop. I found this and am giving it to you." It was a 2" x 4" icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help and the first thing one notices is the sandle trailing off Jesus' foot.

She turned around and left. I called after her, "Please stay and eat with us." She rushed away, shaking her head "no". I didn't see her again.

I am so unworthy of God's benevolence towards me.

I'm awed.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Stress

Work offers different programs aimed at we employees overall health. The program this week was on Stress. (Yeah let me tell you about it.) We learned that when stress becomes excessive, our bodies and mind are unable to cope and disease can result. (Yeah let me tell you about it.)

We learned that the best way to relieve stress is to breathe. Ya, it's that simple. Really. I was surprised, too. Our presenter instructed us to press a fist into our chest. Then she asked us if we held our breath. Well, yeah. See how stress affects your breathing?

To calm yourself all you have to do is concentrate on your breathing. At first, I didn't get it. There are two types of breathing: chest and diaphragm. Since I practice Pilates, I'm a chest breather. You see, the point of Pilates is to strengthen your abs, so I hold my stomach and that area firm, and breathe with my lungs. But I should really go a step further and breathe a little lower--the diaphragm. That would give me deeper breathing.

Well, let me tell you, I almost hyperventilated trying to concentrate on changing from chest to diaphragm. Talk about stress!

But I got the hang of it. Soon I was filling the diaphragm and squeezing the air out. This conscious effort is called breath awareness.

While I was breathing in and out, a CD of calming music was playing.

I was just about asleep when the instructor turned the lights on.

Bummer.

I was surprised that 20 minutes had passed by. And it was so easy. All I have to do is concentrate on my breathing and I relax.

Let me tell you, I felt great! I was very relaxed.

Who knew?

(Yeah let me tell you about it, refers to my Cronkhite Canada Syndrome [see posting from Jan 2009], which is caused by STRESS.)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Choose Catholic


Next time you need to buy something, or need a service, please use this resource. It would show your support of Catholic endeavors. There is a list of blogs there but you could choose a product like Rosaries, or Bible, and you'll be shown a list of addresses.

Please support them.

God bless.

Contact Your Representatives

This link gives a very helpful whip count of all House members believed to be unsure of their positions on the current health care reform bill. The list was published today in The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper of repute.

Now is a good time to increase the pressure on our reps to press for a health care reform bill that CLEARLY precludes abortion funding! Please contact them and ask them to support the efforts of Rep. Stupak of Michigan. He is working tirelessly for a clean bill in the House.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lunch Time Walk




During my hour lunch time, I've been walking. Sometimes I walk in the woods. Since it is Fall, the scenery can be breath-taking. The leaf-peeping season is past, but the scenery can still be beautiful.

The picture on the lower right is a beaver hut. Seeing a beaver in this area is not unusual because I'm walking around Beaver Pond.

Another inhabitant of the marshes is the bird in the top picture. I know you can't make it out. That's the point. God has given her the camouflage. Maybe if you really look close in the middle of the picture--slightly above the center, you'll see a type of heron, called a bittern. She has a long neck and long legs. I like to see the bitterns take off. Their legs swing as they hang down, in take off.

The entire walk reminded me of Mary Oliver's book, Why I Wake Early. This is a book showing God in everything. Here's a sample:

Look and See

This morning, at waterside, a sparrow flew
to a water rock and landed, by error, on the back
of an eider duck; lightly it fluttered off, amused.
The duck, too, was not provoked, but you might say, was
laughing.

This afternoon a gull sailing over
our house was casually scratching
its stomach of white feathers with one
pink foot as it flew.

Oh Lord, how shining and festive is your gift to us, if we only look, and see.


I too, feel like I'm looking at God's gift when I look at the mosaic wetland of ponds, marshes, fens, bogs, and wetlands. They are surrounded by woods of red maple, yellow birch, shrubs, alders, and who knows what other variety of herbaceous species. I feel ever so grateful to be alive to see this "festive gift."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hail Mary


The scriptural origin of the first part of the Hail Mary is in the Gospel of St. Luke. It is a comination of the first words of Gabriel to Mary (Luke 1:28) and the greeting of Elizabeth to her cousin Mary (Luke 1: 42) Full of grace indicates that Mary is highly favored. "The Lord is with you is affirmation.

"Blessed are you among women" prefigure what Elizabeth with say to Mary in Luke 1:42.

Blessed is the fruit of your womb. (Deuteronomy 28:4)

The second part of the Hail Mary is not biblical. It was added by the Church in supplication to the Mother of God, asking for her intercessory prayers for us sinners, and the necessary grace for our salvation now, and at the hour of our death.

Amen

The only belief of the Holy Roman Catholic Church about Mary, not specifically mentioned, is her perpetual virginity.

Thanks to Beads and Prayers: The Rosary in History & Devotion
, by John D. Miller, pp. 31-37.